Grand developments

With the Olympics less than two years away, developments within temporary overlay are gathering pace. Stand Out looks at the grandstand seating market…

As Stand Out writes it’s been announced that Nussli has won the contract to plan and build the grandstand facility for The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2011 and 2012 – a grandstand facility for 8,700 spectators.

To complete the seating, Nussli will have 40 workers install 700 tonnes of steel for the supporting structure in a period of seven weeks. The Swiss-based organisation is currently working in Delhi, supplying the overlay, including grandstands, at six venues for the Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi, which open on October 3. It’s the company’s first project in India and comes as the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has announced it’s awarded the contract for seating framework to Nussli, Alto Seating Systems and Slick Seating also.

Nick Harrison, sales director at Slick Seating, suggests that the current market is incredible busy. He and his team are currently working on 2012 projects, and have just supplied seating to both Goodwood Festival of Speed and Boodles Tennis Tournament at Stoke Park, where new variations were introduced such as padded seating and astro turf on top of decking.

“We have increased our rental stock by 8,000 this year,” Harrison commented. “And we are also looking at putting in new seats with a width of 500mm and depth of 800mm. This will eventually become the industry standard, compared to the current 470/480mm x 760mm options.

“People are looking for comfort, they want better quality and newer kit. Organisers expect the look of a permanent stand so they want plastic barriers and not galvanized rails.”

Investments in sight

GL events Owen Brown has recently launched a new range of temporary grandstand seating for the events industry, as has Star Events Group, which opted to enter the market early in 2010.

Owen Brown’s offer forms stage three of its ongoing investment in its product portfolio. The Owen Brown grandstand bucket seats measures three-metres deep and 1.8 metres wide with each module containing 16 seats. The seating is available in five different layout configurations to suit a variety of event applications.

The Castle-Donington based company is currently targeting the sporting and conference market and is now in the process of talking with clients about becoming the main supplier for grandstand seating and not just temporary structures.

Similarly, Star Events Group saw an obvious synergy between staging and temporary grandstand construction. Hence, its VerTech stage and temporary grandstands are built on the same product, a scaffolding grid that has total compatibility between the two, allowing media platforms, follow spots and front of house to be integrated into the grandstand.

Steve Shaw, director of Star’s seating division, spoke to Stand Out whilst on-site at Battersea Power Station as it installed 20,227 seats for Red Bull X-Fighters, a contract previously held by Arena Seating.

Star Events seating is a quasi parabolic (QP) system. Conventional temporary grandstands have all the seats at the same rake. If visitors need to see down to a surface in front of the stand, their view gets progressively worse the further back in the stand they go. The technical measure of how good the sight line is from any particular row is described as the C-Value.

Most modern stadiums have sets of tiered seats arranged so that the rise between rows gets progressively higher towards the rear of the stand. This is known as a parabolic curve profile, which is very hard to reproduce on temporary grandstands but gives excellent C-Values.

Star’s QP Seating® system uses a range of different height rises that can be changed on a bay by bay basis throughout a grandstand, getting very close to the ideal parabolic curve profile but with a system that is simple, fast and economic to install. Better C-Values improve everyone’s spectator experience.

Star’s seating offers a width of 500mm and a depth of 830mn, making a huge difference to audience comfort levels, particularly in relation to leg room.

Shaw suggested that a number of major players within the market have become complacent with not much in the way of new additions to the market. Star Events new seating offer has made industry sit up and look as it is receiving a positive response from the market, added Shaw.

“I can genuinely say that it was not 2012 that stirred our decision to enter the market. Our interest is in serving our existing customer base and our five-year business plan is not based solely on the Olympics.”

According to Shaw, organisers that utilise both Star staging and seating products can benefit from cost savings in crew and transportation, and plant hire.

Leaping forward

The Structure Group (TSG) has developed a sub structure to support grandstand seating. At the same time the modular design of the TSG components allows for usable space to be created under the seating area.  This is a leap forward in technology for the temporary event industry.

The newly developed support structure uses all the components of TSG’s standard elevated deck system, adding to its portfolio of uses that currently includes tent flooring, car parks, equestrian arenas, urban athletics tracks and mezzanine floors.

Unlike other temporary Grandstand designs, that create an unusable area of scaffold jungle under the seats, TSG’s new design utilising standard HeavyDeck opens up the area beneath the stand. This provides the event organiser with additional space for restaurants, bars, shops, concessions or toilets if required.  An additional benefit comes in the freeing up space for other applications or attractions.

John Davy of TSG comments: “Our systems can work on up to a five-metre grid that enables large roomy areas to be made available that would otherwise have been just steel and scaffold. It is quick and cost effective to erect and I believe will make a great addition to the TSG portfolio that HeavyDeck is developing. The HeavyDeck Grandstand support structure has already created a great deal of interest around the world; with event organisers from Germany, the USA and Australia visiting the UK specifically to see this new innovation.”